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Christianity Versus Islam
Christianity and Islam are two of the most widely recognized and widely practiced religions in the world. Islams and Christians have many things in common, as well as various opinions on the application of religion in the day-to-day environment. What is each religion and how does one refer to God? What is the nature, purpose, and plan of each God? What is each religion’s view on the “Spirit” and of Jesus Christ? Both Christianity and Islam have a written book by which to live and only pray to one God. The difference between the two is the character of their sacred books, the religion’s effect on mankind, and their views of God and Christ.
The term “Islam” refers to a submission to God or “a total way of life.” The followers of Islam worship Allah, meaning “The God,” who is also referred to as Wise, Merciful, and All-knowing. A Christian, however, is a disciple of Jesus Christ, or “a living sacrifice.” Christians refer to God as the Heavenly Father (meaning “Eternal”), Almighty, and Lord of Hosts. While both religions have Holy scriptures, the points portrayed in each are very different. Christians use the Bible, which is divided into New and Old Testaments, and written under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Islamic version of the Bible is Al Qur'an which is composed of one-hundred fourteen suras (units). The Qur’an was dictated to Muhammad by Angel Gabriel and is considered their link to God.
The nature of each God can be summarized in two short sentences: the first describing the nature of Allah, and the second the Heavenly Father. Allah is one; He does as He pleases. This means that Allah begets no one, has not begotten, and there is no one like Him. God is our Father. This phrase refers to Jesus as His physically and spiritually begotten Son. God’s plan is to bring all humans into the image of Jesus as His divine children. Islams believe everyone is sinless at birth with a capacity for unlimited moral and spiritual progress through belief in God. Conversely, as Christians everyone is sinless at birth, but prone to sin. Only the grace of God and the gift of His Holy Spirit can inspire humans to surrender their evil ways for good. The believers of Allah, are “His slaves,” and their concept of success is “to hear and to obey.” In contrast, Christian believers are “the children of God,” and their concept for success is to “Love God and your neighbors as yourself.”
The Islam religion states that prayer should occur five times on the day of congregation. In opposition, the Christian religion states that prayer should be done alone and in secret. Another big distinction is that of personal justice and reprimanding enemies. The Bible says to “love your enemies and do good to those that hate you,” whereas the Qur’an says to “fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you.” Christian beliefs state that God is the “Holy” Spirit, and can create angels made of Spirit. The Islam beliefs directly disagree with this, stating that a spirit is an angel or created attribute. Under these beliefs God is not the spirit. Both the Islam and the Christian religions believe in Jesus Christ. However, Islams believe He was a prophet of God, but a phantom was crucified in his place on the cross. In direct opposition to this, Christians believe Jesus was the “one-of-a-kind” Son of the Supreme God, begotten by the Heavenly Spirit. Christ descended from Heaven, became human, and died to demonstrate God’s love for us. He is our link to God, experienced through the Holy Spirit.
While many of the teachings of these religions conflict, we can clearly see the similarities in the two faiths. Each one gathers knowledge from the Bible and the Qur’an and applies it to every day life in order to gain righteousness. I believe that the best summary of the beliefs of Christians is the following sentence: “God is our Father, love him with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself.” A summary of the Islam beliefs is as follows: “Allah is one, hear Him and obey.”